Although it may not be a popular topic, bladder health is important as a person gets older. The bladder is an organ in the body located in the lower abdomen. It is a hollow organ that holds urine. Aging causes bladder changes among many seniors. It may become less flexible, making it difficult to hold as much urine as it used to. Your loved one might have noticed the most common side effect – going to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall may also weaken, causing urine to leak.
But the good news for your aging loved one is that there are things she can do to keep his bladder healthy. These tips won’t guarantee she won’t have bladder issues, but they can help reduce the risk and increase the health of her bladder.
How and when your aging loved one uses the bathroom is important. Whether your loved one can still use the bathroom on her own, or if she requires assistance from your or a home care assistance provider, she should try to follow these tips when needing to urinate.
- Use the bathroom often. Your loved one should try to use the bathroom every 3-4 hours when she’s awake. Holding urine in her bladder for too long can weaken the bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely. If you have a home care assistance provider that visits, they should ask your loved one if she needs to use the bathroom at least once while they are there.
- Be relaxed when urinating. Your loved one should try not to tighten up her muscles when urinating. Many people try to hover over the toilet (especially when in a public place), but the stress that puts on the muscles. It could damage the bladder.
- Finish it off. It may be true that intermission is short during the concert, but it’s important for your loved one to completely empty her bladder each time she goes and not rush through the process. Urine that stays in the bladder for too long can make a bladder infection more likely.
- Women, wipe from front to back. Always employ this after a bowel movement, to decrease the risk of bacteria entering the urethra.
There are also certain lifestyle choices your loved one can make to improve her bladder health.
- Drink lots of fluids, especially water. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough fluids to cause the need to urinate every few hours.
- Watch what you eat. Certain foods can worsen bladder issues. If your loved one has issues, she might want to consider eliminating or reducing her intake of spicy foods, citrus fruits, artificial sweeteners, and soda.
- Limit caffeine. Caffeine can irritate the bladder and increase symptoms, such as frequent and urgent needs to urinate. Switch to decaf the next time your home care assistance provider picks up groceries to see if your loved one notices a difference.
Bladder problems can interfere with many daily activities, so improving bladder health can help your loved one enjoy her days more.
Amelia Home Care provides traditional in-home care services, along with virtual caregiving and remote patient monitoring. Our service area includes Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and Westchester County. For Home Care Assistance in Bronx, NY, call today at (929) 333-3955.
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